THA JERK - Goin'
By: Pen Slaya
As the old saying goes, one should never judge a book by its cover. That is definitely true in the case of rapper/producer Erk Tha Jerk. Hailing out of Californias Bay Area, Erk does not look the part of hip-hop star but one listen to his music proves otherwise.
Debunking the stereotype of what a West Coast rapper should be is what got a very fickle hip-hop audience to initially notice Erk. His streetwear heavy fashion sense, trademark black eyeglasses and hood nerd persona all work in his favor. Being from a bad place yet knowing that there are non-hood things out there is what has shaped Erks approach to life and music. I went to college for a couple years, Ive worked 9 to 5 jobs and Ive sold weed and none of those things quite worked out so Im kinda like a hood nerd.
The place Erk calls home, Richmond, CA is not known nationally for hip-hop but it is the birthplace of one of the Rap industrys biggest empires in Percy Master P Millers No Limit Records. Before blowing up out of New Orleans, Miller ran a label and record store out of Richmond proving that just because you come from the hood doesnt mean you have to stick to script.
I didnt know it was a ghetto until I got older, says Erk speaking of Richmond. It shaped me to believe that just because you are from here it does not mean that you have to be stuck on one sound. I didnt want to be a hood rapper. I was always against the grain.
Erk fully embraced what some would consider a contradiction with The Hood Nerd mixtape series. The original, released in 2008 created a buzz in the streets and on the net. Next up Erk dropped the song and video for Dont Need Em which completed his introduction to fans and garnered some local radio play.
Over the next couple years
Erk would go on to release various songs that would define him as an artist
including Plane in the Air featuring Too $hort and the satirical
anti-hyphy anthem Im So Dumb, but it was 2009s Right
Here that would put him firmly on the map. The raunchy exhibitionist
anthem recorded in the summer of 2009 was a dramatic change from what fans
had come to expect from Erk. The autotuned hook and sexually driven lyrics
immediately resonated with the streets of Cali and beyond. It was so
dirty, it was like Ying Yang Twins Wait or Akons I
Wanna Love You, one of those songs that are completely filthy but people
still played it, explains Erk about the song's appeal. The songs
popularity eventually translated to the airwaves where the censored version
of Right Here became one of the most played songs on 106 KMEL.
All you do is change the F word to love and you got a hit song.
The single also broke onto Billboard magazines top 100 Hip-Hop/R&B
Heard the new album.. it's dope! You got some serious joints on there. This album was a 2 year process, correct? why so long?
it took so long because of the demand. I didnt feel the demand for an "ERK" album was there. I'm not a fan of force feeding the listeners. Had to make sure everything was lined up correctly first.
You gonna be doing any tours,
shows to promote the album?
Collabin' with bay legends Too
short and B-legit, how did that go down? Any funny stories that stick out
working with either of them (studio time, etc..)?
What's the driving force behind you and your music?
My life. Everything i rap is real. No filler. I talk about what I know. No fairytales. So the words come easy. The music tells me what chapter I need to be on and I go from there. It writes itself.
I've always been a Cee-Lo fan. Devin the dude. I like Currency. A few cats. If If it's inspiring i wanna work. Right now I got me in the deck though, haha. I want to work until people say "I need ERK on my songs".
Hip Hop is kinda in a weird slot right now.. What do you think needs to happen to to get it moving in a positive direction?
We need better music and
for fans to support. If the music is timeless it can't go wrong. As far as
business goes, we just have to bring value back to it. Quality over quanity.
Any last words?
Nerd's eye view is in stores and Erkthajerk.com is up and Running. Rpmg Imprm and s.o.w. Is all I know